Ah, the sweet, sweet taste of freedom.
It's something senior dog, Jag, has never experienced, until now.
Rescuers from Last Chance Animal Rescue found 13-year-old Jag and 300 other dogs confined to a chicken coop in rural Maryland.
The dogs were living in deplorable conditions. They had no access to fresh water, no way to get outside, and some of them were barely able to move because of their severely matted coats.
Rescuers determined that Jag was the oldest dog in the group and had been confined there for a long time. Exactly how long he'd been there, though, no one knew.
Once the dogs had been rescued, Last Chance Animal Rescue began searching for foster families and forever homes for them. The physical and behavioral issues that many of the dogs suffered due to the conditions they'd been living in made placing them difficult.
Jag proved especially difficult to place. In fact, his foster family returned him to the rescue. Because he was a senior dog who'd had little to no human contact for most of his life, they said he was too difficult to care for.
But just when Jag's luck ran out, a guardian angel swooped in. Her name was Micah Larsen Brannon, and she was a volunteer at the rescue. Brannon happened to be volunteering there when Jag's foster family returned him. Her heart broke.
"I couldn't stand the thought of him alone in the office at night so I brought him home to foster him," Brannon told The Dodo.
Brannon's home was an ideal fit for Jag. Brannon has three rescue dogs. Because Jag spent so many years with hundreds of dogs, he immediately felt right at home with Brannon's pack.
"He does not understand or enjoy human contact...He prefers to be around the other dogs and keep to himself. It's hard not to love on him, but we respect his personality," Brannon says.
Unfortunately, Jag began having seizures soon after arriving at his new foster home. It's hard enough finding healthy, socialized senior dogs forever homes. So when the seizures began, Brannon knew then that finding Jag a forever home would be nearly impossible.
And that's when she decided that she would adopt Jag--permanently.
These days, Jag is making up for lost time. He loves spending time with his adopted brothers, and is slowly learning how to be a dog, after a lifetime of neglect.
"He is a sweetheart who just wants to live the rest of his life surrounded by his brothers, lying in the sun," says Brannon.
And that's exactly what he'll get to do.
Adopt, don't shop. Animal rescue changes lives.
All photos by Micah Larsen Brannon via The Dodo.